Shas decides to sit out vote on outpost bill after PM threatens to fire its supporters (TIMES OF ISRAEL) By MICHAL SHMULOVICH 06/06/12)
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Several ministers may be prepared to lose their jobs over vote for
proposal that would bypass court demolition order
RReligious party Shas announced Tuesday night that its ministers will
sit out Wednesday’s Knesset vote on a bill that seeks to bypass High
Court rulings on outpost evacuations. The announcement reverses a
previous statement by Shas chairman Eli Yishai, who had said his
party would vote in favor of the bill.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned coalition ministers earlier
Tuesday that he would fire them if they vote for the outpost
Yishai claimed the decision to sit out the vote was unconnected to
the prime minister’s threat.
The threat effectively delivers a death blow to the bill, which was
intended to give the government a way to go around a High Court order
to evacuate and demolish the Givat Ulpana outpost in the West Bank.
Netanyahu announced his opposition to the measure on Sunday, saying
he instead wants to move the outpost’s five homes slated for
destruction to another piece of land nearby. Netanyahu has been
rallying his party members to vote against the motion.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman and his Yisrael Beytenu party will
reportedly follow Netanyahu’s lead and oppose the bill.
The bill now seems set to fail, or possibly be withdrawn by its
Four ministers and deputy ministers could lose their jobs if they
ignore the warning and vote in favor of the measure: Ayoob Kara
(Likud), Deputy Minister for Development of the Negev and Galilee;
Science and Technology Minister Daniel Hershkowitz (Habayit
Hayehudi); Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli
Edelstein (Likud) and Gila Gamliel (Likud), Deputy Minister for the
Advancement of Young People, Students and Women.
Gamliel and Kara said Tuesday night they would vote for the bill.
“The bill is the only solution to prevent the evacuation of the Givat
Ulpana houses,” Kara said.
Gamliel slammed the government for forcing the citizens to pay the
price of the state’s mistakes.
Edelstein said he “felt betrayed” by other ministers who had said
they would support the bill, but changed their minds after
Netanyahu’s threat to fire those who did.
Already on Sunday, leaders of the movement to save the Givat Ulpana
neighborhood in the Beit El settlement said it would be an “honor” to
be fired by Netanyahu for saving the buildings.
The legislation seeks to retroactively legalize Jewish outposts built
on private Palestinian land in the West Bank — including the Givat
Ulpana. The Supreme Court ordered that the five Givat Ulpana
buildings in question be demolished by July 1 because they were built
on private Palestinian land.
On Tuesday Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein said complying with the
High Court order would not set a legal precedent, easing one of the
government’s main fears.
Earlier Tuesday, hundreds demonstrated outside the prime minister’s
office in Jerusalem. Right-wing MKs Danny Danon (Likud) and Yaakov
Katz (National Union) were said to be in attendance to lend their
Speaking in a Knesset meeting on the possible evacuation of the five
buildings in Givat Ulpana, resident Harel Cohen yelled: “How can the
government do this? Take our children’s home away?”
Minister without portfolio Benny Begin (Likud) said the government
needed to take responsibility for sending the families to live in
Givat Ulpana in the first place. But Begin has opposed the idea of
legislation to bypass the court ruling, prompting Katz to declare on
Tuesday that Begin, long a pro-settlement ideologue, was “no longer
my friend.” (© 2012 THE TIMES OF ISRAEL 06/06/12)
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